Photography: Dr. Marta Osipzyńska
An ancient pet cemetery has been discovered in Egypt, which proves that even thousands of years ago, pets were respected as family members and were given burial ceremonies.
Archaeologists unearthed a pet cemetery nearly 2,000 years old, and found the remains of dogs, monkeys, and cats that were buried there.
Dr. Marta Ouspenska, of the Polish Academy of Sciences and author of a new study in the journal Antiquity,He says the results indicate that there were pet owners at the time who had similar emotional relationships with their pets as we know them today. Many of the animals still had the iron collars they had worn when they were buried, and the decorations on some of the graves indicated that pets were purposefully and carefully buried, rather than disposed of as common waste.
Frequently in ancient Egyptian ruins, pets were buried, but most were with or near their owners. This newly discovered tomb only has the remains of two people buried, most likely nearly three centuries after the pets were buried. The authors of “Richard” argue that it is clearly a special purpose cemetery for the burial of domestic animals.
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Dr. Osipinska and her fellow researchers discovered the tomb while digging up rubbish dumps outside the ruins of the ancient city of Berenice. Even in the bustling old days, the port originally served as a stopover for African elephants who were about to head to the battlefields. The burials are expected to be dated to the first and second centuries, that is, any time when the Romans used the port as a busy trading area.
Traditionally, the ancient Romans were known to love their pets, especially those of the canine variety, and one relic similar in build to a mastiff showed the love they put into their pets. The animal’s body revealed a full belly, indicating a good meal last time, and skeletal examinations showed that the dog may have been suffering from bone cancer, which is still a prevalent issue today. The owners would wrap the body in a basket and decorate the grave with pottery, indicating that it was likely a much-loved and forest animal.
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In the past, researchers have found animal cemeteries elsewhere in Egypt—some catacombs hold nearly eight million mummified dogs. Mummified dogs were once used in religious performances and animals, having been specifically bred for sacrifice and mummification, were often buried in places of ritual burial.
Researcher Wim van Neer of Belgium’s Institute of National History theorizes that the animals at the Bernke site may have been buried for the same purpose, but Dr. Ossipinska refutes this theory because the extant cats show no signs of deformation, which differs from mummified cats buried for ritual reasons. The animal remains found at Berenike show that there was an intentional procedure in the burial process – graves dug to the correct depth and animal bodies carefully laid out for burial.
The results are important because Berenike is a bit of a remote area. Food had to be imported from hundreds of miles away, and that these animals were carefully and carefully buried, testifying to the effort that went into keeping the animals as companions, even in extreme conditions.
Which doesn’t surprise us at all, though, since there’s no doubt that pets are, in fact, members of the family, in good times and bad.
[المصدر: الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية اليوم]